Red Sox waste scoring chances, muster just 6 hits in 1-0 shutout loss to Rays

The Red Sox were unable to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Rays on Wednesday night. Boston fell to Tampa Bay a final score of 1-0 at Tropicana Field to drop to 67-71 on the season.

Nick Pivetta was anything but crisp in his 28th start of the year for the Sox. While showing no ill effects from the left calf contusion he sustained in his last time out, the right-hander grinded through five innings in which he allowed one run on two hits, three walks, and three strikeouts.

After taking a no-hit bid into the fifth inning, Pivetta surrendered a leadoff double to Francisco Mejia. Mejia then advanced to third on a Ji-Man Choi groundout before Taylor Walls drove him in on a softly-hit infield single.

That would prove to be all the scoring the Rays would need. Pivetta, who threw 101 pitches (54 strikes), faced 20 batters on Wednesday; 12 of them worked the count full. The 29-year-old hurler was charged with his 11th loss of the season, though he did lower his ERA to 4.29.

In relief of Pivetta, John Schreiber, Matt Strahm, and Zack Kelly combined for three scoreless frames out of the bullpen to give the Red Sox one last chance going into the top half of the ninth.

To that point in the contest, a Boston lineup that did not feature Xander Bogaerts or Rafael Devers had already blown its fair share of scoring opportunities.

Enrique Hernandez, for instance, began the game with a leadoff double off Rays starter Jeffrey Springs. He was stranded at second base. Three innings later, Trevor Story reached base via a one-out single off Yonny Chirinos. He moved up to second after J.D. Martinez drew a six-pitch walk but was stranded there after Christian Arroyo and Rob Refsnyder both punched out.

In the fifth, back-to-back singles from Hernandez and Tommy Pham put runners at first and second with two outs for Alex Verdugo, who grounded out to shortstop. Arroyo reached scoring position with a two-out double in the sixth, but Refsnyder followed by striking out for a second time.

Boston’s best chance undoubtedly came in the eighth inning, when Pham singled and Verdugo drew a four-pitch walk to lead things off against Jason Adam. Pham moved up to third base when Story grounded into a fielder’s choice. Story then stole second base, putting the potential tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position.

With only one out in the inning, Adam battled back by getting Martinez to fly out and Arroyo to ground out to extinguish the threat. Pete Fairbanks then fanned two and worked his way around a Triston Casas walk in the ninth to seal a 1-0 defeat for the Red Sox.

All told, Boston went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday and left 10 men on base as a team. Hernandez and Pham accounted for four of their side’s six hits. Story and Arroyo were responsible for the other two.

Wednesday’s loss marks the first time the Red Sox have been shut out since May 30, when the Orioles blanked them, 10-0 at Fenway Park. So they went 87 straight games without getting shut out, which had been the longest active streak in Major League baseball.

The Red Sox are now 4-12 against the Rays and 18-39 against divisional opponents this season. They lost their final nine games at Tropicana Field after first beating Tampa Bay on their own turf on April 22.

Next up: On to Baltimore

The Red Sox will have an off day on Thursday as they travel to Baltimore ahead of a three-game weekend series against the Orioles. Rookie right-hander Brayan Bello is slated to start Friday’s series opener for Boston while fellow righty Austin Voth is lined up to do the same for Baltimore.

First pitch from Camden Yards on Friday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Tommy Pham: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Triston Casas’ first career homer not enough as Red Sox drop second straight to Rays, 8-4

The Red Sox’ season-long struggles against the Rays continued on Tuesday night. Boston dropped its second straight to Tampa Bay by a final score of 7-2 to fall to 67-70 on the season.

Rich Hill, making his 21st start of the year for the Sox, could not replicate the same kind of performance he enjoyed the last time he faced the Rays at Fenway Park. This time around, the veteran left-hander got rocked for five runs on nine hits, one walk, and three strikeouts over four innings of work.

Tampa Bay got to Hill before he could even record an out. Yandy Diaz led off the first inning with a hard-hit double and Manuel Margot followed with a line-drive single. With runners on the corners, Randy Arozarena clobbered a 419-foot home run to dead center field to give the Rays a 3-0 lead out of the gate.

Boston responded with two runs in the top of the second. After Rays opener J.T. Chargois yielded a two-out single to Christian Arroyo. That brought Triston Casas to the plate, and the top prospect came through by crushing the first home run of his big-league career.

On a 3-2, 95 mph four-seamer from Chargois that was up and in, Casas deposited a 371-foot two-run blast into the right field seats. The milestone homer left his bat at 96.7 mph.

Hill, meanwhile, ran into more trouble in the third inning as the Rays lineup turned over for the second time. Margot led off with a bunt single and then went from first to third on an Arozarena double. Harold Ramirez followed by plating both runners on a single to left field, though he was thrown out between first and second base. Hill gave up two more hits in the inning, but he did not allow either run to score. He then ended his night by retiring the side in order in the fourth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 64 (46 strikes), Hill managed to induce just eight swings-and-misses. The 42-year-old southpaw was charged with his sixth loss of the season while raising hie ERA to 4.79.

In relief of Hill, Eduard Bazardo received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. The hard-throwing righty punched out a pair in a scoreless fifth inning, but served up back-to-back solo shots to Christian Bethancourt and Yu Chang in the sixth. Tyler Danish also surrendered an RBI double to Francisco Mejia in the seventh.

In the eighth, Reese McGuire drew a one-out walk off old friend Jalen Beeks. Moments after McGuire reached first base, Tommy Pham clubbed a 421-foot home run to left-center field. His fifth big fly in a Red Sox uniform had an exit velocity of 106 mph and cut the Rays’ lead to four runs.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth following a scoreless bottom of the eighth from Ryan Brasier, the Sox went down quietly against Jason Adam. Trevor Story struck out, Arroyo popped out into foul territory, and Casas fanned to seal an 8-4 defeat.

With the loss, the Red Sox are now 4-11 against the Rays this season and 18-38 against divisional opponents.

Bogaerts leaves early due to back spasms as multi-hit streak ends

Xander Bogaerts was pulled in the middle of the seventh inning with back spasms. He had grounded into a double play in the top of the sixth and appeared to be in some discomfort while running towards first base. Enrique Hernandez replaced Bogaerts at shortstop while Rob Refsnyder took over in center field.

Prior to being pulled, Bogaerts had gone 0-for-3 with a strikeout. So his nine-game multi-hit streak has come to an end. He will not play on Wednesday.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Springs in finale

The Red Sox will look to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Rays on Wednesday night. Despite leaving his last start early because of a left calf contusion, right-hander Nick Pivetta will take the mound for Boston. On the other side, it will be left-hander Jeffrey Springs toeing the rubber for Tampa Bay.

First pitch from Tropicana Field is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Franchy Cordero suffers right ankle sprain, will undergo MRI on Tuesday

Red Sox left fielder Franchy Cordero sprained his right ankle in the fifth inning of Monday’s 4-3 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field.

With one out and one runner on, Cordero attempted to track down a 358-foot fly ball off the bat of Randy Arozarena. He wound up running into the wall, however, as his right cleat got caught in the padding of the left field fence. That caused him to land awkwardly and hit the ground in pain.

After remaining on the warning track for a brief period, Cordero was visited by Red Sox manager Alex Cora and associate head athletic trainer Brandon Henry. Unable to put any weight on that right leg, Cordero was carted off the field and replaced in left by Rob Refsnyder.

While Cordero was initially diagnosed with a right ankle sprain, Cora provided an update after the game and revealed that the 28-year-old would be undergoing an MRI on Tuesday to ensure that there is no ligament damage.

“Franchy, he’s OK,” Cora said. “He’s going to get an MRI tomorrow to see if there’s ligament damage. We doubt it. But of course, we have to wait and see. He’s sore, of course, but we’ll wait and see for tomorrow.”

Both Cora and Cordero feared for the worst when contact was made with the wall. But Cordero seemed to be in better spirits despite being on crutches when explaining what went wrong on the play that ultimately resulted in an RBI double for Arozarena.

“I tried to field the ball and in this ballpark with the artificial grass you don’t feel the warning track, so you don’t know how close you are to the wall,” Cordero said through interpreter Carlos Villoria Benítez. “But so far the scans of everything have been negative. It’s just a sprained ankle.

“In the beginning, it felt really bad, but as I was coming to the clubhouse it was feeling better,” he added. “At first, I felt it was something worse than it was.”

As of now, it is not yet clear how much time Cordero — who went 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts on Monday — will miss because of this ankle sprain. Tuesday’s MRI will likely provide the Red Sox with more information as well as a possible timetable.

(Picture of Franchy Cordero: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox blow three-run lead, waste Kutter Crawford’s strong start in 5-4 loss to Rays

The Red Sox fell to the Rays by a final score of 5-4 at Tropicana Field on Thursday night. Boston winds up getting swept by Tampa Bay in four games to drop to 47-43 on the season.

Kutter Crawford, making his fourth start of the year for the Sox, pitched well. The rookie right-hander allowed three earned runs on six hits and zero walks to go along with six strikeouts over six-plus innings of work.

All three runs Crawford gave up came in the bottom half of the seventh. After cruising through six scoreless frames on 82 pitches, the Okeechobee, Fla. native came back out for the seventh with a 3-0 lead in hand.

Having retired each of the last 10 batters he faced, Crawford yielded a leadoff double to Jonathan Aranda to begin things in the seventh. A Christian Bethancourt single put runners on the corners for Josh Lowe, who plated the Rays’ first run on an RBI double that also chased Crawford from the game.

John Schreiber was then dispatched out of the Red Sox bullpen, inheriting a situation in which runners were at second and third and there were still two outs to get. Schreiber allowed both runners he inherited to score on a game-tying, two-run single to Taylor Walls.

That closed the book for Crawford, who finished with a final pitch count of 91 (61 strikes). The 26-year-old hurler induced a total of 13 swings-and-misses while mixing in his four-seam fastball, cutter, curveball, slider, and changeup.

After plunking Luke Raley, Schreiber served up another two-run single to Yandy Diaz that gave the Rays their first lead of the night at 5-3. Schreiber got through the rest of the seventh with the help of an Alex Verdugo outfield assist before making way for Darwinzon Hernandez.

Hernandez, making his season debut for the Sox, needed just 12 pitches (eight strikes) to strike out two and retire the side in order in the bottom of the eighth to keep the deficit at two runs.

To that point in the contest, the Boston lineup had been limited to just three runs. Rafael Devers got the scoring started by golfing his 20th home run of the season off Tampa Bay starter Drew Rasmussen in the fourth inning. Devers’ solo blast left his bat at 103.4 mph and traveled 393 feet to right field.

Fast forward to the sixth, Jarren Duran reached base on a one-out single, stole second base, and advanced to third on a Devers groundout. He then scored from third on a wild pitch that allowed J.D. Martinez to move up to second after drawing a two-out walk.

Xander Bogaerts wasted no time in driving in Martinez by roping a 102.8 mph RBI double to the right-center field gap. That gave the Red Sox a 3-0 lead, though it was not long-lived.

Down to their final three outs and trailing by two runs in the ninth, the Sox made things interesting against old friend Jalen Beeks. Bogaerts led off with a single and scored all the way from first on a hard-hit RBI double from Verdugo. But Verdugo was left at second base as the pinch-hitting Christian Vazquez popped out, Kevin Plawecki walked, the pinch-hitting Bobby Dalbec struck out, and Jeter Downs grounded out to end things there.

With the loss, the Red Sox have dropped eight of their last 10 games and are now 4-10 in the month of July.

Next up: Eovaldi returns for series opener in the Bronx

The Red Sox will head north to open a three-game weekend series against the Yankees in the Bronx on Friday night. Boston will activate right-hander Nathan Eovaldi from the injured list to start the opener. New York will counter with left-hander Jordan Montgomery.

First pitch from Yankee Stadium is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Kutter Crawford: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Red Sox struggle to get anything going against Shane McClanahan, drop third straight to Rays in 4-1 loss

It was another demoralizing loss for the Red Sox at the hands of the Rays on Wednesday night. Boston dropped its third straight to Tampa Bay by a final score of 4-1 at Tropicana Field to fall to 47-42 on the season.

Josh Winckowski, making his seventh start of the season, pitched well in his home state of Florida. The rookie right-hander held the Rays to three runs on four hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over six quality innings of work.

After taking a no-hitter into the third inning, Winckowski ran into some trouble when he issued a leadoff walk to Josh Lowe. That was followed by a line-drive single from Francisco Mejia, which put runners at first and second with no outs.

Winckowski got Yandy Diaz to ground into a force out at second base, but he then gave up back-to-back run-scoring hits to Ji-Man Choi and Harold Ramirez to put the Red Sox in an early 2-0 hole.

An inning later, Winckowski served up a 391-foot solo shot to the light-hitting Taylor Walls with one out in the fourth inning. He was at least able to settle in after that by retiring the final eight batters he faced through the end of the sixth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 92 (62 strikes), Winckowski induced a total of seven swings-and-misses while mixing in his sinker, slider, four-seamer, changeup, and cutter. The 24-year-old hurler topped out at 94.3 mph with his heater. He was also the tough-luck loser as his ERA on the season now sits at 4.38.

By the time the final out of the sixth inning had been recorded, the Red Sox lineup had been almost entirely held in check by Rays ace Shane McClanahan. The tough left-hander did not give up his first hit of the night until the fourth inning, when Rafael Devers reached base via a one-out double that left his bat at 107.9 mph.

Devers, who has been dealing with a sore back and hamstring, attempted to take off from third when one of McClanahan’s pitches to J.D. Martinez got way from Rays catcher Francisco Mejia. But Mejia was able to gather himself and corral the ball in time to gun down Devers at third base. Martinez then struck out to end the inning.

Back-to-back singles from Xander Bogaerts and Alex Verdugo to lead off the fifth put runners at the corners with no outs for Christian Vazquez, who promptly grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. Bogaerts was able to score on the twin killing, but McClanahan managed to escape the inning while avoiding any serious damage.

Fast forward to the seventh, Bogaerts greeted new Rays reliever Jason Adam by ripping a two-out double to right field and stealing third base. But Verdugo grounded out to first to extinguish the threat.

In the latter half of the seventh, with Jake Diekman in the game for Winckowski, fundamental issues continued to plague Boston. With two outs and one runner on, Diaz laced a groundball single to right field that should have put runners at first and third. Instead, right fielder Rob Refsnyder was indecisive with where he wanted to throw the ball, which allowed the base runner (Lowe) to score all the way from first uncontested.

That unfortunate sequence of events made it a 4-1 game in favor of Tampa Bay. After Phillips Valdez stranded one runner in the eighth, the Red Sox found themselves down to their final three outs in the ninth.

Refsnyder reached on a one-out single, but Colin Poche left him there by retiring Devers and Martinez to wrap up another defeat within the division for Boston. With the loss, the Red Sox are now 4-9 in the month of July and 11-23 against American League East opponents.

Next up: Crawford vs. Rasmussen

As they look to avoid a four-game sweep, the Red Sox are expected to turn to right-hander Kutter Crawford in Thursday’s series finale. The Rays will counter with fellow righty Drew Rasmussen.

First pitch from Tropicana Field is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Reeling Red Sox lose Trevor Story, Matt Strahm to injury in process of falling to Rays, 3-2; Chris Sale tosses 5 scoreless innings in season debut

Well, that was ugly.

Despite getting a strong start from Chris Sale and taking a two-run lead into the sixth inning, the Red Sox fell to the Rays by a final score of 3-2 at Tropicana Field on Tuesday night.

Sale, making his season debut, scattered just three hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts over five scoreless frames. The veteran left-hander retired six of the first seven batters he faced before running into some trouble in the third, as he gave up a leadoff single to Yu Chang and one-out walk to Yandy Diaz. But he got out of that jam by sitting down Harold Ramirez and then punching out Christian Bethancourt.

Isaac Parades led off the bottom of the fourth with a hard-hit double and advanced to third on a Randy Arozarena groundout, but Sale stranded him there before ending his night with a 1-2-3 fifth inning. The 33-year-old southpaw threw 78 pitches (53 strikes) and induced a total of four swings-and-misses while averaging 95.1 mph with his four-seam fastball.

By the time he had recorded the final out of the fifth inning, Sale was in line for the win. That being the case because the Red Sox lineup had just gotten to Rays starter Corey Kluber for two runs in their half of the fifth.

After Alex Verdugo broke up Kluber’s no-hit bid with a one-out double, Trevor Story was hit in the right hand while swinging at a 3-1, 89 mph sinker that was ruled a foul ball. Story would have to leave the game and was later diagnosed with a right hand contusion. He was pinch-hit for by Jeter Downs, who moved Verdugo up to third base on a softly-hit single to left field.

Franchy Cordero then laid down a successful sacrifice bunt down the first base line that brought in Verdugo from third to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. Bobby Dalbec followed by plating Downs on an RBI triple to double his side’s advantage.

The sixth inning is where things began to spiral for Boston. Ryan Brasier took over for Sale out of the Red Sox bullpen and put runners at first and second in the process of recording the first two outs of the frame. Alex Cora then turned to Matt Strahm, who almost immediately gave up an RBI single to the pinch-hitting Francisco Mejia.

Mejia’s single put runners at first and second for Taylor Walls, who ripped a 98 mph comebacker off Strahm’s left wrist. Strahm lost his glove but attempted to get Walls out at first base to end the inning. He instead threw the ball away, which allowed Parades to score the game-tying run.

Cordero, meanwhile, retrieved Strahm’s errant toss and attempted to throw home to Christian Vazquez. That caught Vazquez off-guard, as he tried to block the ball with his chest protector before it rolled away, giving Mejia the opportunity to score from third to give Tampa Bay their first lead of the contest.

Both Strahm and Cordero were charged with throwing errors on the play, and Strahm had to be removed with what the team later diagnosed as a left wrist contusion. He was replaced by Kaleb Ort, who recorded the final out of the sixth.

Boston’s lack of fundamentals continued to haunt in the top of the seventh. Verdugo and Downs greeted new Rays reliever Jalen Beeks with back-to-back hits to put runners on the corners with no outs. But Verdugo, representing the tying run, was picked off by Mejia at third base for the first out of the inning. Beeks proceeded to escape the seventh unscathed before facing the minimum in a scoreless eighth.

With John Schreiber and Hirokazu Sawamura keeping the Rays off the scoreboard, the Red Sox found themselves still trailing by one run heading into their half of the ninth.

Matched up against left-handed reliever Brooks Raley, Downs drew a two-out walk but that was immediately negated when Cordero fanned on three pitches to end the game.

With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 47-41 on the season and 11-22 against divisional opponents. They are 4-8 in the month of July.

Next up: Winckowski vs. McClanahan

The Red Sox will send rookie right-hander Josh Winckowski to the mound on Wednesday as they look to avoid dropping another series an American League East rival. The Rays will counter with their ace in left-hander Shane McClanahan.

First pitch from Tropicana Field is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Chris Sale: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Brayan Bello lasts just 4 innings in second start as Red Sox fall to Rays, 10-5

The Red Sox did not arrive in St. Petersburg, Fla. until about 4 a.m. eastern time Monday morning. It showed in their loss to the Rays on Monday night as Boston fell to Tampa Bay by a final score of 10-5 at Tropicana Field to drop to 47-40 on the season.

Brayan Bello, making his second start of the season, did not fare much better than he did in his major-league debut against the Rays at Fenway Park last Wednesday. This time around, the rookie right-hander allowed five earned runs on seven hits, three walks, and one hit batsman to go along with five strikeouts over four innings of work.

All five of those Tampa Bay runs came within the first two innings of Monday’s loss. In the first, Bello put three of the first four batters he faced on to fill the bases for Josh Lowe, who lifted a softly-hit two-run single to center field to give the Rays an early 2-0 lead. The Sox were able to respond in their half of the second, though, as Xander Bogaerts reached second base via a leadoff double, advanced to third on a passed ball, and scored from third on an infield RBI single off the bat of Alex Verdugo.

Despite getting one of those runs back, Bello ran into more trouble in the bottom of the second by issuing a leadoff walk to Luke Raley. He then got the first two outs of the inning, but gave up run-scoring hits to three of the next four batters he faced to make it a 5-1 game in favor of Tampa Bay.

Again, Boston responded in its half of the third. Jarren Duran went from first to third on a Christian Vazquez double. Both runners were then driven in on a two-run double from J.D. Martinez that cut the deficit down to two runs at 5-3. Duran struck again in the fourth by plating Rob Refsnyder on an RBI single, although he was tagged out in between first and second base to end the inning.

Bello, meanwhile, had begun to settle in a bit and ended his night by tossing back-to-back scoreless frames. The 23-year-old finished with a final pitch count of 82 (48 strikes) and was taken off the hook in the top of the fifth.

There, while matched up against Luke Bard, J.D. Martinez ripped a 105.9 mph double and was immediately driven in by Bogaerts. Bogaerts and Verdugo then proceeded to advance to second and third base, but both runners were stranded in scoring position with Trevor Story grounding out and Franchy Cordero striking out to extinguish the threat.

In relief of Bello, Austin Davis received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. The left-hander yielded just one single in the bottom of the fifth before making way in the sixth for fellow southpaw Jake Diekman, who took over in a 5-5 game but could not keep the tie intact.

Instead, Diekman plunked the first Ray he faced in Taylor Walls, got the first out of the inning, and then surrendered a go-ahead RBI double to Yandy Diaz. Kaleb Ort came in for Diekman and allowed the runner he inherited to score on an RBI single from the pinch-hitting Harold Ramirez.

Phillips Valdez was next. He retired the side in order in the seventh but did not receive much defensive help in the eighth. Bobby Dalbec failed to catch a pop-up off the bat of Raley that should have gone for the first out of the inning. Walls then grounded into a force out at second before advancing to third on a Brett Phillips single. Diaz drove in Walls on a sacrifice fly before Ramirez scored Phillips on an RBI base hit back up the middle.

A groundball from Randy Arozarena that could not be corralled by Cordero kept the inning alive for Yu Chang, who plated Tampa Bay’s 10th and final run on another RBI single. Valdez was charged with three runs in the eighth. All three were unearned.

Down to their final three outs of the ninth, the Red Sox went down quietly against Jason Adam. They did not record a single hit in the last four innings of another defeat at the hands of a divisional opponent.

Next up: Sale’s 2022 debut on deck

Chris Sale will make his highly-anticipated season debut for the Red Sox in the second game of this four-game set. Boston will need to activate the left-hander from the 60-day injured list before first pitch on Tuesday night.

Opposing Sale will be veteran right-hander Corey Kluber for the Rays. Kluber and Sale finished first and second in American League Cy Young Award voting back in 2017.

First pitch from Tropicana Field on Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Brayan Bello: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Rich Hill from bereavement list, option Tyler Danish to Triple-A Worcester

Before dropping Sunday’s series finale against the Rays by a final score of 5-2, the Red Sox activated Rich Hill from the bereavement list and, in a corresponding move, optioned Tyler Danish to Triple-A Worcester.

Hill spent five days on the bereavement list after his father, Lloyd, passed away at the age of 94 last week. The 42-year-old had been away from the team to attend his father’s services in Milton.

In his return to the mound on Sunday, Hill was certainly not at his best, but he still grinded his way through four scoreless innings of work at Tropicana Field. Over those four frames, the veteran left-hander yielded four hits and three walks while hitting one batter and striking out another.

With some defensive help from the likes of Rob Refsnyder and Christian Vazquez, Hill finished with a final pitch count of 62 (35 strikes) on Sunday. He relied primarily on his four-seam fastball and curveball combo and induced a total of three swings-and-misses on the afternoon.

While he did not factor into Sunday’s decision, Hill did lower his ERA on the season to 4.85 through three starts spanning 13 innings pitched. It is unclear when the Massachusetts native will make his next start, though it will likely come in Baltimore at some point next weekend.

With the Red Sox activating Hill earlier Sunday morning, they cleared a spot for the lefty by sending down Danish. Danish, 27, was called up from Worcester for the first time last Tuesday and appeared in two games with the big-league club.

In those two outings, the right-hander twirled three cumulative scoreless innings while allowing no hits and two walks. He also struck out five of the 10 batters he faced.

On the surface, it may appear as though Danish will be returning to the WooSox. That said, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo reports that Danish is still with the Red Sox and is a candidate to be called up once more ahead of this week’s series against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

To add on to that, The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham tweets that Danish is indeed flying with the team to Toronto and will be replacing a pitcher who is placed on the restricted list on Monday.

As noted by Cotillo, the Sox will be leaving a number of players — including Tanner Houck — behind for their trip north of the border since they are not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Regardless of the number of players placed on the restricted list on Monday, Danish will find himself back in the big-leagues and presumably pitching out of Boston’s bullpen at Rogers Centre.

(Picture of Rich Hill: Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Red Sox score early, but not often in 5-2 loss to Rays

The Red Sox dropped the finale of their three-game weekend series against the Rays at Tropicana Field on Sunday. Boston fell to Tampa Bay in the rubber match by a final score of 5-2, marking their fourth loss in their last five games to drop to 7-9 on the season.

Both runs the Sox scored on Sunday came right away in the first inning off Rays starter Shane McClanahan. Trevor Story led off with a hard-hit double and immediately scored on a groundball single off the bat of Enrique Hernandez. Xander Bogaerts advanced Hernandez into scoring position and Alex Verdugo brought him in on an RBI single of his own.

So, on nine pitches, the Red Sox found themselves in possession of an early 2-0 lead to give Rich Hill a nice cushion out of the gate. Hill, making his third start of the year and first since returning to the bereavement list, managed to keep the Rays off the scoreboard while scattering four hits, three walks, and one hit batsman to go along with one strikeout over four innings of work.

Rob Refsnyder, starting in right field, aided Hill in the second inning when he gunned down Randy Arozarena, who was trying to stretch a two-out single into a two-out double, at second base for the final out of the frame.

Hill finished his day retiring five of the final eight batters he faced. 35 of the 62 pitches the left-hander threw went for strikes.

Before first pitch on Sunday, it was expected that Tanner Houck would piggyback off of Hill since Boston cannot use the right-hander during their series in Toronto. Rather than have Houck take the mound in the fifth, however, acting manager Will Venable first turned to Phillips Valdez out of the bullpen.

Valdez, in turn, recorded just one out while loading the bases on one walk and two hit batsman. Ryan Brasier then came on and allowed all three of the runners he inherited to score on a two-run double from Ji-Man Choi and RBI groundout from Manuel Margot that gave Tampa Bay their first lead of the day at 3-2.

Matt Barnes got the call for the sixth inning and yielded back-to-back one-out singles to Kevin Kiermaier and Arozarena. Kiermaier, the hero of Saturday’s contest, moved up to third on a Wander Franco groundout. Following a pitching change that saw Jake Diekman take over for Barnes, the speedy outfielder scored on a wild pitch to make it a 4-2 game.

Diekman remained in the game in the seventh and served up a solo home run to Yandy Diaz that gave the Rays a 5-2 edge. It was not until later in the inning when Houck finally emerged and sat down the only five hitters he faced in order to keep the three-run deficit intact at the end of eight.

Down to their final three outs of the ninth, Verdugo, Bobby Dalbec, and Travis Shaw went down in order against Ryan Thompson to seal a 5-2 defeat for the Red Sox.

Next up: On to Toronto

The Red Sox will board a flight to Toronto while leaving unvaccinated players such as Houck behind to open a four-game series against the Blue Jays on Monday night.

In the opener, it will be right-hander Nathan Eovaldi getting the ball for Boston and fellow righty Jose Berrios doing the same for Toronto.

First pitch from Rogers Centere is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Red Sox break up no-hitter in 10th inning, then get walked off on by Kevin Kiermaier in wild 3-2 loss to Rays

The Red Sox delivered a late birthday present to Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier on Saturday night. Kiermaier, who turned 32 on Friday, crushed a two-run walk-off home run off Hansel Robles in the 10th inning to lift Tampa Bay to a stunning 3-2 win over Boston at Tropicana Field.

With the loss, the Sox fall to 7-8 on the season. They have not won consecutive ballgames since April 16-17.

Garrett Whitlock, making his first start and fifth overall appearance of the year, absolutely dominated the Rays’ lineup. In what was his first career big-league start, the right-hander yielded just one hit and no walks to go along with seven strikeouts over four scoreless, near-perfect innings of work.

After taking a perfect game into the fourth inning, Whitlock gave up a leadoff double to Brandon Lowe. He then stranded Lowe at second base by retiring the final three batters he faced in order. The 25-year-old finished with a final pitch count of 48 (33 strikes) and turned to his sinker 58% of the time he was on the mound.

In relief of Whitlock, Austin Davis received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from acting manager Will Venable. The left-hander maneuvered his way around a two-out walk in an otherwise clean frame before making way for Kutter Crawford, who twirled three scoreless innings of his own while striking out five.

Tyler Danish walked the first batter he faced in the ninth to put the potential winning run on base, but left him there to send this 0-0 game into extra innings.

To that point in the contest, the Red Sox lineup had been no-hit by six different Rays pitchers in J.P. Feyereisen, Javy Guerra, Jeffrey Springs, Jason Adam, Ryan Thompson, and Andrew Kittredge. They reached base six times over that stretch via five walks and a fielding error, but were unable to do anything with those base runners.

In the top of the 10th, Matt Wisler took over for Kittredge and Jackie Bradley Jr. became the automatic runner at second base. On the third pitch he saw from Wisler, an 0-2 slider, Bobby Dalbec came through in the clutch by lacing an RBI triple down the right field line.

Dalbec’s 322-foot foot triple left his bat at 97.1 mph. It also provided the Sox with their first hit of the night and drove in Bradley Jr. to give them a late 1-0 lead. Dalbec then scored on a Christian Vazquez sacrifice fly to double that advantage to 2-0.

That sequence led to Venable going with Robles in the bottom half of the 10th. With Randy Arozarena at second base and the potential tying run at the plate, Robles fanned Ji-Man Choi and Josh Lowe for the first two outs of the inning.

A balk from Robles allowed Arozarena to advance to third. With the Rays down to their final out, Taylor Walls reached base on a throwing error committed by Trevor Story and Arozarena scored to cut Tampa Bay’s deficit to one.

Robles then fell behind in the count against Kiermaier and served up the game-winning, two-run homer on a 96 mph four-seamer down the heart of the plate. Kiermaier deposited it 372 feet into the right field seats to send the Rays home with a come-from-behind victory.

Next up: Hill vs. McClanahan in rubber match

Despite losing in heartbreaking fashion, the Red Sox still have a chance to win this three-game series against the Rays on Sunday afternoon. Boston will turn to left-hander Rich Hill as he makes his return from the bereavement list in the series finale. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, will roll with fellow southpaw Shane McClanahan.

First pitch from Tropicana Field is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Hansel Robles and Kevin Kiermaier: Mike Carlson/Getty Images)